Review: Ayckbourn’s stimulating look at bedroom behaviour

Harrogate Theatre's young reviwer Megan Gilbert, a student at The Grammar School, Leeds.
Harrogate Theatre's young reviwer Megan Gilbert, a student at The Grammar School, Leeds.

The latest winning article in Harrogate Theatre’s Young Reviewer project is by Megan Gilbert, a student at The Grammar School, Leeds.

Harrogate Theatre and Oldham Coliseum presents Bedroom Farce, Harrogate Theatre.

Sardines, squabbles and an extreme lack of sleep – Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce, presented by Harrogate Theatre and Oldham Coliseum, reveals the unpredictable activities that occur behind the bedroom door.

Practically void of typical bedroom behaviour, the events that unfold are impulsive, erratic and confirm Ayckbourn’s belief, “You can tell a great deal from people’s bedrooms.”

Three bedrooms, four couples and one night of emotional trauma; Ayckbourn’s play works so well because it follows real people following real predicaments.

Despite the name, there is little action beneath the sheets; instead a chaotic pattern of sleep deprivation caused by the restless and self-obsessed Trevor (Anthony Eden) and Susannah (Laura Doddington) follows.

This troubled couple spread their problems throughout three very different bedrooms, causing mass destruction and fatigue wherever they go.

The production is totally enjoyable and I chuckled unreservedly throughout. Robin Simpson as Nick, fed up and frustrated with his bad back, causes near hysteria with his hilarious attempts to recover his book.

Catherine Kinsella is charming, with both youthful innocence and heroic patience, she plays the “beautifully uncomplicated” Kate with energy and ease.

Perhaps the surprising stars are terribly traditional Delia (Lynette Edwards) and Ernest (Christopher Wilkinson).

These characters strike a chord with the Harrogate audience as they battle with the all-too-familiar (to some) Aga mishaps. Yet the greatest triumph of the play is the collective strength of the cast; there is no real weak link and the energy jumps from bedroom to bedroom.

Feel the frustration, fury and fatigue of Ayckbourn’s incredibly genuine and diverse characters – Harrogate Theatre certainly provided a night of stimulating bedroom behaviour.